On Thursday, November 19, Jarret Jean McCasland was found by a jury of his peers to be guilty of Second Degree Murder with a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.
They did not come to this conclusion because Jarret was a murderer or because he killed someone. They came to this conclusion because the law and the misguided war on drugs, forced them to.
The law that mandated this outcome was Louisiana Revised Statute 14:30.1(3). Enacted in 1987, this law is one of the few murder statutes in America that does not require any intent to kill. The law was written to give prosecutors a new weapon to put dangerous drug dealers behind bars for the rest of their lives. Now drug dealers would be guilty of murder if their product directly caused the overdose of their buyers. At least, that was the plan. However, since that time, it would appear that the law has only been applied a handful of times and never against any large scale drug dealers.
Instead, it has mostly been used to prosecute friends and now lovers, who use but don’t sell drugs. Jarret McCasland and Flavia Cardenas loved to party together, became best friends and on July 1, 2013 were engaged to be married. Their relationship ended in tragedy 26 days later. While celebrating her birthday together, the couple began using drugs and Flavia later died from an accidental overdose.
Regardless of your opinion of drug users, the simple fact is this law was not meant for them. No one is safer when a husband goes to jail for his wife’s drug use. No public order is restored, or lesson taught. All it serves to teach us is that the State of Louisiana has given up. They have chosen to hide the user in jail and let the dealer go free at the taxpayers’ expense.
Denham Springs, Louisiana